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Public continue to donate to aid causes - despite Covid

Posted on 06 October 2021

Funding for New Zealand’s Aid charities has held steady despite Covid, closed borders and the inability for aid workers to travel.

The Council for International Development (CID) released its Annual Survey of The Aid Sector today.

CID is the umbrella organisation for New Zealand’s aid agencies and partners, with about 60 member organisations.

“This is remarkable. At a time when New Zealand’s charities would expect to see a big drop in donations as we deal with Covid at home, New Zealanders have maintained their support for people in far worse situations overseas ,” says Josie Pagani, Executive Director of CID.

This is despite The World Giving Index 2021, which measures all charitable giving (not just aid) per country, showing New Zealand dropping to 7th most generous country, having been ranked 5th for many years.
Total financial support for aid charities was $196 million in 2020-2021. While this is a decrease from a high of $215 million in 2016-2017, it is similar to the amount in the year before Covid.

Confidence amongst the sector has also increased from last year when Covid first emerged. 58% of respondents believe their revenue will increase over the next financial year compared to 30% last year.

The Edelman Trust Barometer 2021 shows that trust in charities and Non-Government-Organisations (NGOs) is steady at 57% (down one point from last year), behind businesses at 61%, but above both Government (53%) and Media (51%).

Other key findings:

  • Partnerships between aid charities and the private sector have dropped for the first time in years -from 66% the year before to 46% this year.
  • Number of volunteers in the aid sector has increased  by 10% this year, and now out-number paid staff.
  • This signals increased support from the public, but longer-term sustainability risk
  • Aid charities have global reach. Top 10 countries for development spend have Uganda at the top, followed by Papua New Guinea and Fiji in the Pacific, and Afghanistan and Myanmar.
  • For the first time, India, Lebanon and Ethiopia are in the Top 10 - after New Zealander donated in response to Delta outbreaks in India, the bomb blast in Lebanon, and increasing famines in Ethiopia.